The Nude Vampire (1970)

Yes, I think Jean Rollin and I are going to get along nicely. His second film is about as singular as his first was, though I don’t think it was meant to be… he apparently set out to prove he actually could make a “normal” film like a “real” filmmaker if he really wanted to, with an actual script that he would stick to and not lose (as infamously happened during the production of Viol du vampire), and an actual structure that wouldn’t feel like it was being made up while the camera was rolling. The end result, of course, was a Jean Rollin film in spite of those good intentions, and possibly could not have been otherwise. Rollin takes the vampire formula and fucks with it again; indeed there are no real vampires in the film, though not in the irritating London After Midnight manner, the “vampires” here are actually something else, and in a way it’s more of a science-fiction tale, with the industrialist Radamante keeping a “vampire” girl captive to try and discover the secret of her apparent immortality and presumably sell it to others. I also liked that, rather than the usual mob advancing on the monster’s chateau, the mob is the “monsters”; here it’s the “vampires” who are the “good” characters, making a nice little inversion. The film evinces a certain degree of increased resources (including apparently being able to afford a larger actual mob than Viol‘s handful of villagers) and I suppose more confidence on Rollin’s part, though I’m not really sure his structure works; the mob scene comes a bit earlier in the film than it probably should to effectively feel like the climax I think it wanted to be. But Rollin’s avowed intention with the film was to imbue it with mystery, and I think it’d be hard to deny he did exactly that, whatever else he may have done with it. I liked this.

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